July 15, 2020
4 min. read

7 Steps For How to Set Goals


It is possible to think of our lives as a series of goals, challenges, and achievements, a necklace of stepping stones across a deep river as we strive to become and create our best selves.

Because of this, it’s easy to see how and why we want the best advice for how to set goals and be productive. We want to achieve our dreams and we want to do so in a time-tested way that honors the challenges of the past while becoming, hopefully, the great achievements of the future.

If you’re wondering how to set goals, strap in and buckle up: we have collected seven solid tips for how to set goals in our blog post below.

1: Decide what you want to do

The most important first step when achieving a goal is to decide which goal exactly you would like to achieve. You want a goal that is narrow, well-defined, concrete and made up of little small steps you can actively undertake.

Ideally, you are excited, encouraged, or otherwise stimulated by this goal. Don’t be afraid to take on a goal that is a little more than you think you can do. We are often guilty of underestimating ourselves and can take on goals that stretch our capabilities and make us fly.

2: Write down your goal

By physically writing down our goals, we increase our chance of sticking with them. Something about the act of writing activates our brain in a special way and helps us to keep up with our goal even when the going gets tough.

Here are a few tips to consider for formulating a positive and focused goal::

  • How will you know you have reached your goal?
  • When would you like to achieve your goal by?
  • How will you feel when you’ve completed your goal?
  • How does your goal tie into your values and desires in life?
  • Make sure to write your goal in positive terms, not negative terms (‘I want to do this’ versus ‘I don’t want to do that’)
  • Use specific terms and timescales when delineating your goal

3: Share your goal

Research shows that a goal shared is a goal completed. It seems to increase the likelihood that we will stick to our goal.

This may be because we feel like we have a community to hold us accountable or because we don’t want to lose face with our loved ones. Either way, don’t be afraid to call your friends and family and let them know the journey you are embarking on.

4: Break your goal into manageable steps

It’s especially important to break up your goal into manageable steps when you are trying to set major goals. Try to think about the smaller goals that will put you on the road to your bigger goal. For example, if your larger goal is to be a healthier person, you might be able to make smaller goals like ‘go for a run at least three times a week.’

You can write down your smaller goals and treat them just like your bigger ones by setting dates and a timeframe to achieve them as well. Breaking your big goal into manageable chunks will help each of them be a little bit easier, give you a feeling of success, and keep you on track towards your big goal.

5: Plan your first step.

Thinking about the first step to take is very important for getting started. Even if you’re not sure where to start, your first step could be to research how to do something online, find resources in person, ask knowledgeable people in your community, or get a book on the subject from the library.

After the first step, comes the next step, and the one after that. This is where the previous tip about breaking your goal into manageable chunks really shines.

6: Keep going.

You can’t reach your goal if you don’t try. Even though trying can be difficult and frustrating, we need to develop the mental resilience required to persevere so that we can bask in that feeling of achievement.

This means that if a particular step towards your goal isn’t working for you, try to think of a different one. There may be a different task you can undertake that can still propel you towards the achievement you have your heart set on. No one is working alone in a vacuum, so try reaching out to others to see if they can help bring a different way of looking at things to light.

Ultimately, if you’re really stuck, you may need to take a break and then re-read what you wrote down when you first started. You may even need to adjust your goal. That’s okay, because the goal is to take manageable action, not to overwhelm yourself. Then think of the first step…

7: Celebrate.

Once you’ve achieved your goal, take time to celebrate your accomplishment and thank the people who supported and encouraged you along the way. Think about what you learned and how you feel now that your vision for yourself has paid off. Then, it may be time to think about your next challenge!

The process of setting goals will help you to realize exactly what it is you want to achieve in your life and provides an important, yet flexible and adaptable framework for achieving those goals. Without the feeling of achievement, life can feel empty and directionless, so it’s important to give yourself wins by setting goals that stretch you, motivate you and encourage you.

Setting clearly defined goals, with timeframes and concrete steps, is one of the most important ways to make sure you succeed in what you hope to achieve. With specific and measurable goals that have a deadline attached, you will be able to see the route to achieving your goal and take the next steps toward making it happen.

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